Saturday, 26 November 2011

A ten year plan

I was reading an article 'The 10,000 Hour Rule' in the magazine Australian Artist (Dec 2011).  The author, G.W. Smith, talked about research that had been done on how people became masters at their craft, be that music, art, performance etc.  It was concluded that to really master your craft you must spend 10,000 hours at work on that craft.  That's ten years of three hours per day challenging yourself to improve!

I long to have this sort of time at my disposal but I simply don't.

What I do have is my own ten year plan.
It started last year, Year One, with one painting a day.  I managed 280 paintings for the year.  A few really good ones but mostly ordinary, practice type pieces.  This year, Year Two, has focused more on deliberate improvement of skill rather than bulk production.  I know I can make painting a priority if I want to, but I really wanted to be more mindful of learning new skills.  The result?   Less finished pieces and the creation of some truly awful paintings, but noticeable improvement.

Year Three (2012) will involve a focus on purposefully understanding art making and looking to learn from local people.  After that is unknown, however at the end of Year Ten I will have had enough practice to justify professional instruction (you know, the sort you get in France or Italy!).

A ten year plan like this might seem like an idealistic way to approach art making but, for me, it takes the pressure off having to be perfect every time I make marks on a page.  It also helps me to stay focused when I am tired and over it all.

My philosophy?  
A little bit everyday makes a big difference in the end.

In the meantime,  I picked up my commissioned piece from the framer today.  He was able to do it quickly as he had another job which used the same materials, so I am thankful that things worked that way.  And I am very pleased with the results.  I think it will really suit the purpose for which it has been created.


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